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Posts Tagged ‘Relentless Grace’

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I think a lot about time.

One of society’s false myths maintains that retirement magically produces additional time. I have the same amount of time each day as everyone else. Time’s quite democratic, because everyone gets exactly twenty-four hours each day. We can spend them wisely or waste them, but we all get the same amount. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Tim Ferris wrote a great book called The Four-Hour Workweek. Sounds like a great idea, but what happens to the other 164 hours if I don’t work? I can’t imagine that much reality television or cable sports.

Actually, Tim’s premise makes a lot of sense if you understand his definition of work: “anything you’d rather do less of.” We squander our time doing tasks we’d rather avoid, because we feel for some reason that we “have” to do them.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to stop doing productive, meaningful tasks. I want to make a difference, help others, and contribute something positive. And when I’m doing those things, it doesn’t really feel like “work.”

I’m in the process of revising my web site and integrating it with this blog. I’m doing it all myself, a large task when each step requires me to learn something new about the mysteries of html, php, and server file structure. My wife seems to think I’m nuts, but I actually enjoy this process. It doesn’t seem like “work” to me.

I don’t want to reflexively dodge unpleasant obligations and responsibilities. But I don’t want my precious hours to be spent, day after day, doing something I don’t value. We all spend far too much of our time doing what others expect or habitually following old patterns. Life degenerates into drudgery in which we go to work to get the money to buy the stuff, without ever asking whether the stuff really holds any significance.

I don’t want to become more efficient at filling up my time with more and more tasks, and I don’t want to be consumed by mindless routine and insignificant cultural expectations. That’s not living life on purpose.

I want to control my time, because it’s really the only asset I have. I want to do productive, purposeful projects, I want to have fun, and I want to nurture and build healthy, authentic relationships. None of those are “work,” but they all require time, energy, and effort.

I’m going to focus this week on investing my time in places that matter to me.

How about you? What’s “something you’d rather do less of?” How can you move toward that goal?

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I seem to play host to an army of self-created demons.

I think I have a special talent for inventing and empowering my own private foes. The smallest adversity spurs a frenzy of inner creativity, and another haunting voice begins whispering messages of doom.

There’s nothing imaginary about these self-defeating creations. They’re more real and more terrifying than any obstacle I might encounter. In fact, I’m increasingly convinced that outside opposition poses relatively minor threats compared to the fearsome firepower of my internal enemy.

I’ve been wondering about the leader of this hostile force that’s encamped in my heart and head. I’m certain that their supreme commander is the enemy of my soul, but perhaps their general is loss of confidence.

When we encounter significant adversity, we’re somehow robbed of confidence. Past mistakes, illness, injury, or evil actions of other people—any of these can make us uncertain, tentative, and fearful. It’s impossible to move forward in hope when you’re always looking over your shoulder for an event or person from the past.

When I examine those instances when I’ve lost confidence, I recognize a consistent trend. I think I’ve consistently placed my confidence in the wrong location.

I’ve entrusted my sense of hope to health, financial stability, and relationships. I’ve been confident in my own ability, in a career, or a society. And each, in one way or another, has failed to provide the foundation in which I can be confident. People disappoint, health falters, and finances fluctuate. Whenever I’ve been certain about any worldly circumstance, something happens to rattle the ground until I’m standing in shifting sand.

… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Through all I’ve experienced, I’ve become convinced of only one fact: God will never let go. He’s not going to toss my life away, no matter what mistakes I’ve made, no matter what’s happened to me, God offers a new beginning.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

That’s my bottom line. That’s where I want to place my confidence. In the face of that power, my little internal infantry shrinks to insignificance.

What’s the source of your confidence?

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Contentment

Grace Has Found Me

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

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Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations. ~ Elton Trueblood

Yesterday I heard one of society’s common phrases: I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s important to revisit our core values and beliefs frequently, and that statement brought me back to two of my guiding principles. (more…)

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Happy Saturday! If you’re new to THE CRAZY QUEST, you may wish to read about it here. Basically, I’m tracing my journey as I attempt to answer the question: What would you do if you didn’t know you couldn’t do it?

This week of training: 143 miles

FLAT TIRES HAPPEN

 

Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get. Mark Twain

flat tireEvery cyclist knows that flat tires are going to happen.

You don’t know where or when, but flats are part of cycling. You try to avoid stuff on the path, you maintain the tires and tubes, but no matter what you do you’re going to get a flat occasionally.

It’s probably just perception, but flats seem to occur at the worst times. It’s raining, or you’re running late, or you’re miles from nowhere. Flats never seem to happen in front of a bike shop.

Life’s the same way. Stuff happens, often at inconvenient moments. We can’t control a lot of it, but our attitude goes a long way toward determining how unexpected events impact us.

In a cycle ride, the joy of the journey is often determined by how you respond to adversity. You can get angry, curse your bad luck, complain that it’s not fair. None of that solves the problem, and it usually makes the rest of the ride miserable.

Or you can chuckle, get out your tools, and fix the flat. And if you don’t have the right equipment or skills, you can ask someone to help. The generosity of other riders is amazing.

Same thing with life. A flat tire’s a small inconvenience, but your response can cast it as a catastrophe.

I want to try harder not to sweat the small stuff.

Have you ever experienced an unexpected “flat tire” in your life? How did you respond?

Related articles:

Enjoy The Easy Terrain

You Have To Climb The Hills

Be Your Own Engine

There’s A Top To Every Hill

The Crazy Quest

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

Subscribe to receive blog updates via email

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Note: This article is a regular Friday feature that’s also posted at SetFreeToday.com

You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations. ~ Stevie Wonder

We waste a lot of time and energy trying to conform to the expectations of others. Our desire to meet someone else’s standards diminishes us in at least two ways.

“Their” expectations may direct us to actions that don’t add value to our lives. Sometimes I follow the crowd and act in a manner that contradicts my personal values, or fail to speak up in the face of wrong because of what “they” might say. Perhaps I scramble for excess material possessions because “they” expect a particular appearance.

Whatever form it takes, we waste precious moments whenever we do something because “they” expect it.

“Their” expectations may prevent us from reaching our potential. Society puts me in categories that tell me that certain goals are impossible. When I listen to “their” voices, I also accept their limitations.

desertThis is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17: 5-8)

When I try to meet the world’s expectations, I’m a prisoner sentenced to wander endlessly in a desert of subjective standards. I’m isolated from the source of strength and refreshment, searching madly for affirmation and approval. I’m doomed to constant, unquenchable thirst, always seeking but never finding true contentment.

When I trust God, I’m free. Rather than scrambling to meet “their” standards, I can rest by the stream, confident that He’ll meet my needs. By trusting the source of eternal truth instead of trying to hit the world’s arbitrary moving target, I can be assured that my efforts won’t be wasted. Nourished by the stream that never runs dry, I can know that I’ll produce the sort of fruit that will allow me to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The world wants me to believe that I’ll never be good enough, that my past mistakes and failures imprison me in a barren wasteland of regret and guilt. By “their” standards, I’m destined to hopelessness, isolation, and despair.

That’s not God’s message. The same stream that nourishes and strengthens also washes away the past and offers a fresh, clean beginning. I can rest in His hands and trust Him.

I can be free.

What’s one of “their” expectations that keeps you isolated and trapped? 

Related articles:

Average

Who’s Running The Show?

The Mob

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

Subscribe to receive blog updates via email

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Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Garth Brooks

Most of my frustrations arise from my own unmet expectations.

I always seem to begin a project with the unspoken idea that nothing will go wrong. Somehow, I acquired the notion that things are supposed to happen according to my plans.

But life doesn’t work like that. Unanticipated obstacles frequently appear. Important events rarely transpire precisely as I expect. I don’t want to travel through life peering around the corner for the next disaster, but things would be a lot easier and calmer if I learned to perceive the bumps and detours as an integral part of the journey.

Stuff happens. Life is what occurs along the road, not where I arrive at the end. It’s important to plan and prepare, but the quality of the journey is often determined by how I handle the events, challenges, and opportunities I didn’t anticipate.

I didn’t plan on being a quadriplegic, and I wouldn’t choose that circumstance if offered a do-over. But I wasted a decade in anger and depression after my injury, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way. When I finally decided to move forward, I encountered a number of interesting, rewarding opportunities that awaited me on my new path.

How frequently do I miss beauty or generosity or excellence because I interpret an event as a problem? What will “go wrong” today that might lead me toward something better than anything I might have planned?

What’s an expectation that’s caused frustration for you?

Related articles:

The World’s Best Excuse

Regret

The Illusion Of Normal

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

Subscribe to receive blog updates via email

Read Full Post »

Happy Saturday! If you’re new to THE CRAZY QUEST, you may wish to read about it here. Basically, I’m tracing my journey as I attempt to answer the question: What would you do if you didn’t know you couldn’t do it?

This week of training: 103 miles

ENJOY THE EASY TERRAIN

You’re either climbing a hill, you’ve just finished one, or you’re about to begin a climb.

That’s a paraphrase of the way many riders view the terrain, but I’m not certain it’s accurate. The hills are the most memorable, but the majority of most rides contain relatively flat, unremarkable terrain. (more…)

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